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On this page we’re comparing the best Bose wireless speakers and headphones including the SoundLink & SoundLink Mini bluetooth speakers, SoundTouch home theater, SoundSport in-ear running headphones & QuietComfort headphones.
Bose QuietComfort QC35 & QC25 Noise Cancelling Headphones
The QC35 are the successor to the gold standard for premium, noise cancelling headphones which are the Bose QC25. The QC25s have been my go to on train rides and flights for past couple years, so naturally when you get a successor to them you kinda have to wonder whats different about them and are they worth difference in price?
Now on a pair of really premium noise cancelling headphones you look for a couple things: build quality, comfort, sound quality and then of course how good the noise cancellation actually is. Build quality is great and nearly identical to the QC25s. They’re lightweight plastic headphones, pretty flexible and that’s actually what makes them so comfortable because they’re so lightweight and flexible. Along with the super soft foam on the top band and the super soft leather cushions that go over your ears, all this combines to make them really comfortable. If you’re looking for specifically wireless, noise cancelling headphones then you’ll have to go with the QC35s. If you just want noise cancelling headphones and you don’t really care about the convenience of having no wire then the QC25s are fine and functionally pretty much exactly the same. We’ll be bringing you Black Friday Quietcomfort deals here as they come.
Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
Ok so the Bose SoundSport wireless headphones. These are the best running earphones I’ve used that. Firstly, the audio quality is amazing. As expected, they just sound really, really good. Also, they have a stable Bluetooth connection better than with most wireless headphones and they also have NFC so with certain Bluetooth devices you can just tap them to the headphones and they’ll connect, which is cool.
They are sweat and water resistant and are pretty darn comfortable to wear but you also do have size small, medium and large eartips that you can swap to find the best fit for your ear. They don’t completely seal off your ear canals so you can actually hear the ambient noise around you a little bit. Some people like that, other people don’t. I’m fine with it but its a personal preference thing. Now in terms of battery life you can expect to get 5 – 6 hours on average or about a weeks worth of workouts for the average person. I think thats pretty good battery life and when you do need to charge them they just require any old micro-USB cable, which is handy. They have a tangle resistant cable and an inline remote and mic which works perfectly. You can take phone calls, access Siri or Google Now, adjust your music and it all works great.
If you value sound quality above all then the SoundSport wireless are the best exercise headphones on the market in 2017.
Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Speakers
Bose is kind of the brand by which all others are measured when it comes to making small things that also sound good. Now with the Bose SoundLink 3 there’s a new kid on the bluetooth block. Does it push the envelope or does it just fit inside?
The SoundLink 3 has a sleek, rounded and classic design. The wrap around metal grill is nice but it looks kind of like plastic even though it isn’t. On top you’ll find the very simplistic silicone button panel, which protects the speaker from dirt and dust. The SoundLink 3 has a solid weight to it which isn’t surprising given the materials used here. Connectivity is very simple – turn it on and it immediately starts broadcasting so your Bluetooth device can find and pair with it. This was always easy and quick in my testing. There’s also a standard AUX jack on the back of the speaker which allows you to connect other devices. The battery life is around 14 hours on the SoundLink 3, up around 7 hours on its predecessor. I left the speaker running all day and it was still running after about 12 hours when I shut it off. 3 hours is all it takes to fully charge it which isn’t bad at all considering what that charge gets you.
I tested the SoundLink 3 using a wide variety of musical styles including rock, hip hop, jazz, punk, metal and solo acoustic guitar and it held up very well throughout all of them. The low end is pretty heavily emphasized here, I noticed that even songs that weren’t particularly bass heavy had more low end presence than I was used to. The mid-range isn’t boxy sounding at all either which is a common problem in Bluetooth speakers. The high end is fairly crisp with nice detail and no harsh sounding bumps in the frequency range.
The main question people will have is this: does the SoundLink 3 sound better than the SoundLink 2? The answer is yes, absolutely. Plus, it gets much louder than the SoundLink 2 without distorting. Overall the Bose SoundLink 3 continues the trend of being the Bluetooth speaker to beat.
Bose SoundLink Mini, Mini 2 & Color
Bose’s SoundLink Mini was one of the best Bluetooth portable speakers but it did have a few shortcomings. Bose has addressed them with the SoundLink Mini 2. It looks almost identical to the original but it now has a built in microphone for speakerphone capabilities. Another improvement is its 10 hour battery rating, up from 7 hours in the previous model. It now charges via a standard USB cable too.
With a wireless range of around 30 feet, you can pair two devices simultaneously and switch between audio which is pretty convenient. As far as I can tell the sound difference between the two is minimal – both offer a clean, natural sound with minimal distortion even at max volume.
Bose is trying to spice up our lives with a colorful range of Bluetooth speakers called the SoundLink Color. More affordable than the SoundLink Mini, the Color is compact and around the size of your palm. Overall the construction still feels durable but it’s lost a little of the premium feel that I’ve come to expect from Bose. Battery life is up to 8 hours of use. From my testing, leaving it on continously with volume set at 50% I was able to achieve a full 10 hours and 32 minutes of charge. The range is decent too, having no problem staying connected through multiple walls.
Where the SoundLink Color really shines is when you have the volume up at 100%. It’s just as loud as the SoundLink 2 and can easily fill a small room and does decent for medium sized rooms about 14 feet x 12 feet in size. The only issue with sound quality is a slight lack of bass, whilst the mids and highs are clear and very good for a Bluetooth speaker. If you’re into music that’s more focussed on beats and bass then this speaker might not get your head bobbing. But if you’re strong into vocals and guitar then you’ll be very happy with the results.
Bose SoundTouch Home Theater Sound System
I’ve reviewed the SoundTouch 10 here (far right in the above image) but the 30 & 50 are pretty similar with more features and better sound quality for a higher price.
If you love listening to music at home but hate dealing with messy wires then this could be the sound system for you. It has one goal in mind and that’s for you to easily stream music in your home without taking up alot of space. It can be placed anywhere in your home and comes with a convenient remote. Don’t be deceived by its small size though, the SoundTouch 10 is clear and rich and the loudness from such a small speaker is pretty astonishing.
What’s really cool about this speaker is that it not only plays audio or bluetooth from any app on your phone, tablet or computer, it actually connects to your WiFi network and can play music via the free SoundTouch controller app. I’m usually not a fan of proprietary apps but you can still use this speaker without doing that if you just want to use the Bluetooth and AUX port. If you don’t mind signing up for a free Bose account then you can take advantage of the app and its useful presets.
Bose Solo TV Sound System
Most TV shows are carefully produced with sound thats meant to bring you more emotion, more impact. But you’re not getting the full experience because TVs are too thin to reproduce that kind of sound. So Bose created the Solo TV sound system. It brings out more of the depth and detail that you’re meant to hear. The difference is so dramatic, you can hear details in your favorite shows that you never noticed before. Sounds that bring you more realism and excitement. And it all comes from a one piece system that fits under your TV and needs only a single connection. Bose technologies takes care of the rest.
With a click of the remote you’ll enjoy wide, even sound that brings you closer to whatever you’re watching so TV can feel like a whole new experience. Add one to your TV and hear how it can transform the way you experience television.
Bose Wave Music System
The Wave SoundTouch music system is a feature packed speaker that’s looking to be an all in one solution for music lovers. It currently comes in two colors – espresso black and platinum silver. The system is about 5.5 inches tall, 14.5 inches wide and around 8.5 inches deep and it weighs just under 10 lbs. You can wirelessly stream music to the speaker using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, using a compatible device such as your smartphone, tablet or computer. It also has a built in radio which I was able to tune into my favorite radio stations just fine with no need for an external antenna.
It has dual alarms which come in handy if you and your partner need to get up at different times. And it also has a CD player just in case you can’t seem to give up those mix CDs that you burned in 2007. You know who you are.
The first thing you’ll notice about this speaker is that its really attractive. It’s very sleek and it looks good just about anywhere in your home. There is no physical power switch because to turn it on and off all you need to do is tap the top of the speaker.
Now other than the fact its an all-in-one system, the sound that it produces from such a compact speaker is one of its best selling points. It’s able to produce a clean, rich, room-filling sound by utilising the Bose Waveguide technology. This is essentially a series of passages from the speaker driver to the speaker grill that guides air through two 26 inch folded waveguides. It makes it possible for a compact system like this one to replicate a larger system stereo sound. I was able to play music from the corner of my living room and you couldn’t really pinpoint exactly where the sound was coming from. So it has a crisp, loud sound quality for sure.
As with many Bose products the bass is very strong. Luckily if you don’t like a strong bass it is easy to reduce through the system settings. Even though it does have an AUX port, this speakers most notable feature is its wireless capability. With built in Bluetooth you can easily pair it with your smartphone, tablet or computer and start playing audio immediately.
With the free SoundTouch app you can easily connect the Wave SoundTouch music system to your WiFi network and play music from popular music services such as Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Prime music, thousands of internet radio stations and even your own music library. Once your music sources are connected you can play them through the speaker via the SoundTouch app. I pretty much exclusively use Spotify and Pandora on mine and it seems to work great with both of those. One drawback with playing music through the SoundTouch app is that you can’t use your phones volume buttons when your phone is locked to adjust the volume. You’re going to have to unlock your device to do that or use the included infrared remote.
Now I do love this speakers ability to set presets with the SoundTouch app. You can set any of your connected songs, albums, playlists, artists or stations to any of the six presets and you can then use the SoundTouch app or remote to press any of those presets and the speaker will automatically start playing that music even if it was turned off. I also love the informational display that shows the title of what’s currently playing. Now since this speaker is part of the Bose SoundTouch family, you are able to easily add more SoundTouch speakers to your home and then with the free SoundTouch app you can play music across all the different speakers at the same time or play different music on different speakers.
It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for an all in one music system that has built in alarms, AM/FM radio and a CD player but mainly excels in sound quality and wireless playback, then the Wave SoundTouch music system is a great investment for you. I would definitely recommend this to people who want a high quality speaker combo.
The Bose SoundTrue Ultra are the companies first noise isolating headphones. Don’t confuse noise isolating with active noise cancellation, these aren’t a powered headphone. Over what makes the Ultra different from Bose’s earlier in ear headphones is that its tip is designed to fit snugly in the base of your ear canal and block out a lot of ambient noise. Now a lot of people don’t like having ear tips jammed in their ears, which is why Bose’s earlier in ear headphones had a looser fitting, open design that lets some sound in have become so popular. The Ultra on the other hand is designed more like a traditional in ear headphone but once again the key to its fit is the soft, silicone ear tip which Bose calls StayHear Ultra for this model.
Not only are these among the most comfortable, if not the most comfortable in ear noise isolating headphones you can buy, but the StayHear Ultra tips keep the buds securely in your ears. It’s a great design and you should be able to wear these headphones for long stretches with little to no discomfort. It also helps that the buds themselves are lightweight. They are plastic, which might leave you wondering why these have a premium price tag. But they are made of hi-tech plastic if that’s any consolation.
The headphones come in black or white and in two flavours – one with the remote that’s designed to be used with Android phones and another that’s compatible with Apple iOS devices. The headphone works well for making calls – you can hear people better in noisier environments thanks to the noise isolation and it does come with a nicely designed compact carrying case. As for the sound, the Ultra is an even handed, very clean sounding headphone that’s designed to make all music sound good. The bass may be a little lean for some who crave that extra thump to their low end but it was punchy enough for me. The treble was smooth and the mid range clear and warm without being too laid back.
I didn’t have a problem with the volume level but some people have complained about it not being high enough. The Ultra’s top volume is about 10 – 20 % lower than a lot of in ear headphones on the market. I believe Bose did that on purpose to keep people from damaging their ears. But if your hearing is a little bit shot then these may very well not play quite loud enough for you. Anyway I like the Ultras a lot for both their comfort and their sound and I wasn’t the only one in the office who did.
True, they are a little expensive but Black Friday and Cyber Monday are offering some great deals on this model. If you’re looking for a clean sounding pair of really comfortable in-ear noise isolating headphones that really stay in your ears, the SoundTrue Ultra should be on your shortlist.
The Bose QuietControl 30 wireless bluetooth headphones have active noise cancellation. These are essentially the wireless version of the QuietComfort 20, the companies in ear noise cancelling headphones that I really like.
Now, you’ve probably seen plenty of people wearing these neckband style wireless headphones which LG pioneered with its Tone series. But think of the QC30 as the ultimate neckband style Bluetooth headphone with impressive sound and a price tag to match its premium status.
Not only is the build quality really good but the headphones fit very comfortably with an open design. By open I mean that you don’t jam the earbud into the ear. Thanks to Bose’s StayHear Plus ear tips that come in three sizes, the bud fits loosely in your ear but remains securely in place. The only downside to an open design is that ambient sound leaks in and normally a headphone like this wouldn’t be good for noisy environments. But that’s where the noise cancelling comes in. Even though the design is open, ambient noise gets muffled and what’s a little different from Bose’s previous noise cancelling models is that you can manually adjust the level of noise cancellation by pressing a button on the integrated remote or through Bose’s free connect app for iOs and Android devices.
Battery life is rated at 10 hours which is decent for this type of Bluetooth headphone and a protective case is included. Whilst Bose doesn’t advertise this headphone as sweat resistant, it is and its suitable for gym use. It’s OK for running so long as you don’t mind the feel of something around your neck whilst you’re running. QC 30 was designed to be use as a wireless headset and its a really good one. It muffles ambient sound like wind and crowd noise so that callers can hear you better and you can hear callers better. There’s also a side tone feature that allows you to hear your own voice in the headphone as you speak so you don’t raise your voice whilst talking.
This isn’t the only noise cancelling wireless Bluetooth headphone in Bose’s line up. There’s also the flagship QuietComfort 35, a full size wireless model with best in class noise cancellation. Given the choice between the two my personal inclination is to go with the QuietControls, but the QC 35 has its own appeal.
Tim Marr is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com, Amazon.ca and Amazon.co.uk. Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates.